Mesh Topology

Mesh topology is used in a local area network. Although such a topology is reliable, owing to interconnection, there is redundancy as well. Scroll down to know more about the structure of such a network topology.
In computer networking, topology is the layout of connected devices. Network topology is defined as the physical interconnection between various elements, such as links and nodes. There are two kinds of network topologies, namely physical and logical topology. Physical topology is the design of a network, including the devices, location and cable installation. On the other hand, logical topology refers to how data is actually transferred in a network. There are different types of physical topologies. They are bus topology, star topology, ring topology, tree topology, mesh topology, etc.

Mesh Network Topologies Defined

Mesh is a type of network setup, where each of the computers and devices are interconnected to one another. This allows most of the transmissions to be distributed, even if any one of the connection goes down. The connection between the devices and different nodes is made through hops. Some of the devices and nodes are connected through single hops and some are connected with more than one hop. In a true mesh topology, every node is connected to every other node in the network. When data is traveling in a mesh network, the network is automatically configured to take the shortest route to reach the destination. In other words, the data is transferred through the least number of hops. There are two different types of mesh topologies, described in the following lines:

Full Mesh
In this type of networking topology, every node has a circuit, which connects to every other node in the network. It is very expensive to implement and also yields the greatest amount of redundancy. However, the advantage of this topology, is that in case of failure in any one node, traffic to other nodes can be directed through the other nodes. This is the topology, which is usually reserved for backbone networks.

Partial Mesh
As opposed to full mesh, partial mesh is less expensive and also there is less redundancy. In this topology, some nodes are configured like the nodes in full mesh, while the majority of the nodes are connected to one or two nodes in the network. Normally, partial mesh is found in peripheral networks, that are connected to full mesh backbone.

Now let's read about the advantages and disadvantages of implementing this type of topology.

  • There are dedicated links used in the topology, which guarantee that each connection is able to carry its data load, thereby eliminating traffic problems, which are common, when links are shared by multiple devices.
  • It is a robust topology. When one link in the topology becomes unstable, it does not cause the entire system to halt.
  • If the network is to be expanded, it can be done without causing any disruption to current users of the network.
  • It is possible to transmit data, from one node to a number of other nodes, simultaneously
  • Troubleshooting, in case of a problem, is easy, as compared to other network topologies.
  • This topology ensures data privacy and security, as every message travels along a dedicated link.
  • The first disadvantage of this topology is that, it requires a lot more hardware (cables, etc.) as compared to other Local Area Network (LAN) topologies.
  • The implementation (installation and configuration) of this topology is very complicated and can get very messy. A large number of Input/Output (I/O) ports are required.
  • It is an impractical solution, when large number of devices are to be connected to each other in a network.
  • The cost of installation and maintenance is high, which is a major deterrent.
The mesh layout diagram alongside will help you understand the exact structure of this topology. Depending on the size of the network, you plan to build, a decision will have to be made about whether it is the appropriate choice for you.